Christian Kerr writes:

There was stacks of schadenfreude in Canberra yesterday – not at an official level, of course. Perish the thought!

Kerry O’Brien – a known communist, as HG and Roy always remind us – was the main target after he got bolshy with the PM on Monday night. In the end, he acquitted himself pretty damn well in his interview with AFP head Mick Keelty last night. These particular comments are fascinating:

O’BRIEN: Very briefly, Commissioner, there’s been a lot of
talk about shoot-to-kill powers in recent weeks, but does last night’s
operation and in particular the shoot-out between one suspect and
police, demonstrate that police already have adequate powers to use
firearms in appropriate circumstances? Without going to that individual

KEELTY: Well, without going to the individual case, but
I will say one thing about that individual case of the operation today
and this is a real fact, I know it is. The dangers that are presented
to police officers and law enforcement officers and indeed the ASIO
officers in conduct of operations is real and is present and we’ve not
exaggerated that.


KEELTY: And police are
entitled to protect the community. An innocent bystander can be shot as
a result of shots been fired in a confrontation such as that, but of
course the police officers are entitled to defend themselves as well
and, look, I can assure you, Kerry, that police officers are trained
regularly. They have to re-train and qualify for that sort of use of
force and no police officer looks forward to having to draw their
weapon from their holster, I can assure you of that.

O’BRIEN: I am sure not, but does it demonstrate that current powers are adequate?

Well, I think they are and I think the issue about the proposed bill
was an issue of transparency and I commend transparency when we’ve got
such difficult issues to work through with the community.

at that again – the current powers are adequate and “I commend
transparency.” That’s the real issue here, after the PM’s farcical “I
do not intend, and cannot, and will not go into any of the operational
details” presser this time last week.

Paul Kelly‘s
comments on the weekend still stand: “The politics of national security
is deeply polarising and Australia has to devise a better system than
was on display this week. Nearly everybody is operating in the dark.”
His remarks from today
are excellent, too: “The raids and arrests in Sydney and Melbourne show
not just that Australia faces a serious domestic terrorist threat but
herald a more polarised society.”

Malcolm Farr’s column from Monday
is worth reviewing, too: “National security has demanded another
approach. The Government would have paid a price had it not acted on
the possibility of a locally produced terror strike, but now it risks
criticism it has gone too far. This won’t be cleanly resolved unless a
terrorist strike is either prevented, and the public knows about it, or
it is successful. That’s an awful position for the Government to be in.”

Columns today like Matt Price‘s
“Egg on faces, head to toe” are right. We can’t expect much from the
Greens – this is the party that used to sign the killer of police
commissioner Colin Winchester into Parliament House and let him wander
the corridors – but Democrat leader Lyn Allison’s “Ït’s not beyond the
possibility that [John Howard] would say to the State police
commissioner(ers), ‘Well, you know, is there not a raid that could be
taking place at this time to justify it?’” thinking aloud has been just
plain embarrassing.

The conspiracy theorists should get off the
grassy knoll. At the same time, though, the Prime Minister should get
off his high horse. “Trust me,” he says. So why is he planning to
guillotine the terror laws through on Thursday morning with only a few
hours debate? Trust me? Tell us why, PM.

It’s clear from the
raids that our current anti-terror legal provisions are substantial. He
must explain himself more. If this is a matter of life and death – and
it looks like one – he cannot create an atmosphere where conspiracy
theories can flourish. The PM can’t tell us everything. He doesn’t need
to tell us much, in fact. All he needs to do is follow Kelly’s advice
and behave in a way that stops the conspiracy theorists from getting